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ISDCaptain01

Anyone here a self-taught graphics programmer?

109 posts in this topic

although i have formal training (software engineering, OSU), almost everything i learned about game graphics i learned on my own. I stared a long time ago, 1988. no directx, no 3d vidcards. mode 13 was the hot ticket back then. it was all about party on the bitmap. everything home rolled. early skills invoved learing to blit, bressingham's line drawing algo, etc. skills were picked up online, usually from compuserv's gamedev forum. and from the bible: foley and van damm. if you got into 3d you became intimate with names like neumann, sproull, foley, van damm, and sutherland. Then came directx, 3d vidcards, and everybody and their brother thinking they know how to build games and writing a book on how to do it. the books are a good way to get up to speed quickly, but all it is someone explaining the poor docs to you.. and although the docs suck, there's no substitute for understanding directx, or open GL as the case may be. evrey time i restart my game company i always do the same 4 test programs: console app hello world, fullscreen d3d hello world, draw a triangle, and turn everything on (aniso, mips, lighting, etc). usually takes about a week or tow to get it working, depending on the available references on hand. the first time it took a month or two. nowadays, i use the directx docs, and online forums. I have over 50 gamedev books in my library but never use any of them. about the only books i wish i still had were my calculus book (for rotation about an axis formulas), and my physics book (for stuff like impulse and momentum formulas). and that info can also be found online.

 

yes i do this for a living. I'm probably the last of the lone wolf developers.

 

Norm Barrows

Rockland Software Productions - Building PC games since 1988

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I started graphics dev towards the end of 1983.  My Acorn Electron tapes had all stretched out from overuse, so all my games were broken.  This encouraged me to read the basic and system programming manuals (at that age, I didn't really comprehend that writing software was different to playing a game -- I thought that everything done on a PC was a game :-) ).   I wrote a few half baked games (the first one was a lunar lander type - partly pulled out of code samples written for the BBC Micro), and then a few ground up little games.

 

I got my first x86 PC in 1986 (4.77mhz FTW and a Hercules card, no HDD), and started with GW Basic, and then later on Pascal, C and Assembler.  At some point in the late 80's to early 90's, I had an epiphany:  I don't really like making games at all, I just like to play them -- what I really enjoyed was making cool graphics via code (for games or otherwise).  Through a bunch of BBS's and friend's sharing coding "secrets", I got involved in the Demo Scene in the early 90's, which fitted my interests perfectly.  I wrote some software 3D renderers (386 DX no-FPU era), a bunch of old Mode X type special effects, etc.  I remember those days fondly: every year from 1986-2000, I would see a new effect, or feature that I had never seen before, or even imagined possible (my imagination was possibly, a bit limited :-) ).

 

Then I did a degree in Math and CS, which was pretty cool, because it helped a lot of the math I was doing fall into place.  Then I did a PhD in CS (graphics/computational geometry), and worked in visualization and VR for a few years, and then I spent the better part of a decade at NVIDA.

 

Now I work for a hedge fund.  Go figure. :-)

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i truly started graphics programming at 15 or 16, when i was doing homebrew for the psp, and learned the gu, thus began my journey on learning how to program a graphical game(although it was still pretty heavy fixed pipeline, so i knew nothing of shaders).  than i used xna with the 360 for a bit, learned a bit about shaders, but it didn't click for awhile on what i was truly doing.  then i decided to work with openGL and learned shaders far more in-depth.  i don't feel anywhere near finished, i've seen tons of people producing far better than I.  but i have learned plenty enough that i can get something up and running in openGL fairly quickly.

hah, thats hilarious, I started my programming journey on the psp as well, though at first i didnt use the modified gl library up front, instead using wrapper libs like OSLib to make small games, But then i moved to the pc and started making more complex games, eventually learning shaders and picking up linear algebra when I could
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I'm kindof a combination of both.  I did a bunch of 2D stuff with OpenGL when I first started, just drawing fancy 2D graphics with hardware acceleration.

 

Then I took graphics class at my college and was no longer afraid of 3D.  A lot of what I know is a combination of being self taught and learned in school, but mostly self taught. I'd read tutorials all the time, ask Questions here, and use Google a LOT.

 

I also look at designs of other engines like Ogre3D, Quake 3, Doom 3, Unreal for ideas and how artists usually do things.

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I started with Python when I was 7 years old, with some general effect writing for blender game engine. I never really took it seriously until I was about 12, and wrote my first game. It was a small marble game, that I recently ported over to Windows phone (Did the port about 3 years ago)

 

Currently, I don't program as much as I used to, as my time is consumed by writing science papers on the methods I develop. I do miss writing engines though.

 

I still have the website up for my old engine (The project is long dead)

wirezapp.net 

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I'm a kinda.

I went to Full Sail University not knowing *anything* about programming. They taught me the fundamentals of programming, but it wasn't a very deep education. (Full Sail teaches a subject a month, ie: I have one month's training in linear algebra, one month's training in calculus, etc).

After I graduated, I found nothing for eight months, and I had to start working at a local pizza restaurant. It was then that I started learning graphics programming as a specialization. I found an online tutorial for deferred rendering, and just ran with it. I eventually got an XNA app running with a full deferred pipeline, post-processing, and shadows.

I spent the better part of a year on this website trying to get help to get things working and how to work out the minutia, (big thanks to L. Spiro, MJP, and Hodgman), and now I've written graphics code on Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii-U, Windows 8, Windows Phone, you name it.  I will have had a job in the industry for two years in March :)

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L Spiro's got my same timeline: started when I was 14 back in high school, and learned C++ and then jumped into DirectX within a few months without a firm understanding of pointers. I started with Ivor Horton's C++ book, Programming Role Playing Games with DirectX by Jim Adams (he lives in Vegas, where I'm from), and C++ for Dummies. That year, my 9th grade final project in HTML1 was a small town "MMO" lol... Two people connected into the same world on our classroom's network, and we were able to walk around and attack each other.

 

10th Grade - I started to get into PSP hacking a little more and wrote some code, but didn't get too far into it. I was still working with DirectX and just starting to get exposed with Linux. I played Final Fantasy VII for the first time, and rebuilt a 3D battle engine based off of it as my HTML Web Design 2 class' final project in DirectX. My teacher was cool like that haha. I also had a really basic StarFox-like tech demo that was really basic.

 

11th Grade - I got into PSP homebrew programming, and became a forums junkie at psp-programming.com. THIS is where I learned most of the details on how the code works with the hardware. I learned that the GU (similar to OpenGL, but it's the PSP's graphics library) actually works on the GPU. I built an X-file model loader and released it, and became the top poster for a bit on those forums by asking questions lol. There were some robotics engineers and computer science majors going to school in Europe who were really helpful, and I actually saw Slicer4Ever from above post sometimes on there and QJ. I met a lot of people through from psp-programming, and even made friends in real-life with a few when they came out to visit some clubs in Vegas.

 

When I got out of high school, I released my first game: an iOS App on the iTunes App Store. Since then, I've been researching engine development, and my OpenGL skills are really coming along! I've switched over to desktop OpenGL recently, but I try to make my code compatible with iOS, Linux, Mac, and Windows.

 

I've read books, but mainly articles and forums online is where I get my info. Finding whitepapers, checking out math websites like wolfram, whenever I'm stuck understanding higher-level math notations have really helped. Gamasutra and GameDev.Net have some really awesome articles, tutorials, and forums that answer questions. saving us all one more question from me.

 

I'd like to give back by releasing code, writing some articles, and posting video tutorials on YouTube eventually, and writing articles on my website, but I'm not sure if I'll be teaching people how to do things "the right way". To be honest, I don't think there's a wrong way to do something if it works --only better ways that offer more flexibility, functionality, and efficiency.

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hi..

 

I'm pooh I toppest 3D engine programer world ( I think there is about 50-100 people is toppest - I'm one of them)

 

 

I start graphics programming when I was 12. I start with bulshit turtle graphics. I really hate the arthur. and keep going on.

 

at 1996 there is no education about 3D graphics in here .

 

I research all about siggraph  and graphics paper. It's so suck I'm Korean and My major was philosphy so I serious trouble reading engineering paper. ( I mean my earlier times - not now. I just more care about new hardware trand or visual art - technical stuff is nothing serious to me)

 

but I'm the first generation and there was no one know about 3D stuff well . I can keep join toppest group in Korea and still now on.

 

In Korea until now there is no good computer graphic school. I work for 16 years for this area., and I think US and other place will be same. I doubt there is high and very detail education about 3D theory and hardware education.

 

So cheer up if you are not teached well. don afraid of it.

 

Technic come from experience and by hand like old stuff - like smith.

 

I don't read about this thread and I don't care about "why are you the toppest kind of question - I just know by my experience-" so If you have any question or something send me a message and plz send me constructive one only.

 

I will be honest and truefully help you.

Edited by GeniusPooh
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Hi

I have not studied computer or graphics ACADEMICALLY .

I have studied Physics !!!

Now I work as a C++ programmer .

I love DirectX and C++ .

No one can take what you love from you.

If you love something , just dive in it.

 

Ask God whatever you want and just try !!!

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I'm self taught, but I'm not much of a graphics programmer, though I'd like to be, graphics programming since I first delved into writing my first Deferred renderer I've been fascinated with, to me graphics programming the space where imagination and logic can make magic happen.
I picked up graphics programming when I wanted to understand how the drawing worked in XNA, I had an obsession at the time to not use anything I could not understand, in terms of material I literally jumped into google "XNA drawing 3D models" which eventually turned into "3D lighting techniques" into "deferred renderer" so on and so forth, each search threw me a bone to the next and before I knew it days had passed where I'd done nothing but research.
I've faces a bunch of problems but every single one of them has been a case of me either being lazy or fudging a value or syntax up, as wonderful as graphics programming is it can be a pain to debug, especially when the problem is 1 little variable.

all of this and I'm still not all that good, I understand a bunch of concepts and I can make my way around a bunch of problems given a basic concept. But I'm not good enough to consider myself a graphics programmer just yet, theres always more stuff to learn and until I'm contributing to what there is to learn I'll just consider myself a curious person.

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The feeling when confusion turns to clarity is addictive

Crafting a complex "machine" that works

to me it feels like I am building a locomotive - so many wheels and levers and cogs turning at high speed

And the rush when you overcome the multiple layers of bugs and bugs in debuggers and design flaws and flawed documentation and get it to work anyway

Software development feels like xmas morning every day

 

Couldn't express more precise. Thank you =)

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I have to say that former education in my case played very little.

I am regularly ( sp ?? ) ignored by companies even if i have a degree in engeneering electrhonics and have been coding program for 20+ years.

The shift in the industry is totally Unity driven, i'd say that someone with a fair amount of Unity and c# experience might get a better job than someone with a degree , i regreted wasting time and money on my education, sad but true.

*End of the rant*

My story began with c64 , assembler and basic , then pascal , c/c++ , java , c#, i started coding software renderes at around 20 , and i got my first textured polygon few months after i started seriously into 3d math and algorithm, i switched a lot of computers , from c64 , amiga , 486 , pentium(s). Then i stalled with the 3d boards for a while, after a couple of years ai bought a new pc with an nvidia and started coding with opengl, basically until now, i have written various engines in this timeframe.

My opinion on this topic is that university education is that it was usefull for understanding math and physics , but for coding , the most important thing is to write software , no way , formal education can give help in case of data structure, but you can learn a lot from books around the internet ase well.

Conclusions:

In the future , formal education will be less and less important to accomplish the job, take into consideration that for a Unity developer advanced math or physics are nto required, and the industry is rapidly adopting this engine as a standard.

Edited by TheItalianJob71
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